CLASS OF 2021::: YOU'RE GETTING A FREE PROM!
HEY SENIORS! You've been through a lot this year -- you've masked up, backed up, and zoomed your way through your final year of high school. You deserve some good news: the Lorain City School District is treating you to a FREE PROM. 
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PHASE 2 FAQs

PHASE 2 FAQs

Thank you to our families, staff and community members for submitting your questions through the district's recent Town Hall sessions, YouTube chat, Facebook, phone call and email. We will continue to compile answers to this section as we move forward together through this challenging year! Have a question you'd like to see addressed?  SUBMIT QUESTIONS HERE

Click on the links below for questions and answers related to that topic.

RETURNING IN-PERSON

Q: Are we going to be back in school if Lorain County is red or purple? Under the original plan we were not. Has that changed?

A: Yes, that has changed. When Ohio first released its color-coded Public Health Advisory System it appeared to be a reliable measure of community spread. However, as we learned more about the system’s indicators, we realized we needed a much more localized measure to determine and mitigate risk in Lorain. This led to the district’s partnerships with Lorain County Public HealthMercy Health - Lorain, and Case Western Reserve University to develop school environments, protocols and practices ensuring multiple, robust barriers between individuals in our schools. This was also the main driver for the COVID-19 Titan Testing initiative — to give us a true measure of community spread in Lorain so that we can react swiftly and appropriately.

As health experts learn more about COVID, we should expect that guidance to our schools will continue to change. While these changes are often confusing, even frustrating, we will work to keep you informed, and do everything we can to ensure we can continue to educate our children, safely.



Q: If we are anticipating people could get sick...why are we talking about going back?

A: Our staff and families have been inundated with rumors about the date for a return to in-person. We promised we would provide at minimum 30 days advance notice of a return date — with the holiday, we were able to provide even more additional time. However, please remember, if our health partners advise us that it is not yet safe for a return to in-person instruction — we will follow that guidance.

Given the current positivity rate and anticipated trajectory for a high level of spread, it is possible that we won’t be returning to in-person in January as scheduled. But we need to have a plan, in the hopes that we can return. 



Q: When a parent selects a particular option (remote/in person), will they be able to switch? 

A: Yes. 



Q: What/who classifies what is ‘unsafe’ and determines whether or not we come back in January?

A: We will be evaluating a variety of factors with our partners at Lorain County Public Health, Mercy Health - Lorain, and Case Western Reserve University. Factors will include the rate and severity of community spread, turnaround time for COVID test results, our ability to effectively contact trace, building preparedness, staffing and any new research or local developments influencing school safety.



Q: Why don’t staff have a choice regarding whether they can return to the buildings or not? Many are afraid to return. If we want to come back, fine. But if we want to continue to work remotely, we should have that choice.

A: We need to have enough staff onsite for students who will be participating in in-person instruction during Phase 2.



Q: Does the county health department have the legal authority to shut down schools, or do they just make recommendations.

A: Yes. They have legal authority. They have a due-process and must provide evidence as to why they chose to shut a building or district down. The CEO has complete legal authority to do so, as well.



Q: If there is conflicting advice or guidelines from the CDC, Ohio Department of Health and Lorain County Public Health, who do we listen to?

A: According to district legal counsel Daniel Mason, we should follow guidance from the state health department.



Q: If a student or staff member is going to be out, how many symptoms do they need to have to be ‘legally’ out?

A: If you are feeling sick, you should not report to our buildings. It is better to stay home and engage in remote instruction so that you do not risk infecting students or adults.

CLEANING BUILDINGS & BUSES

Q: How are we ensuring clean and safe WATER prior to the return of staff and students to our buildings?
A: Operations staff are ensuring clean and safe water by:
  • Running water to flush out any sediment that may have developed
  • Installing bottle fill water stations in each school
    • ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: Two (2) water bottle filling stations installed
    • MIDDLE SCHOOLS: Two (2) water bottle filling stations installed
    • HIGH SCHOOL: Seven (7) water bottle filling stations installed


Q: What about the cleanliness of AIR in our buildings?
A: An air handler unit is used to re-condition and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system. The basic function of the air handler unit is take in outside air, re-condition it and supply it as fresh air to a building. All exhaust air is removed, which creates high quality indoor air.

Our highly trained staff will be taking the following preventative and maintenance measures:
  • Running HVAC systems 24/7 for the maximum air filtration
    • The outside air pleated filters are changed every 3 months.
    • The return air and coil pleated filters are changed every 6 months.
    • The cartridge air filters are changed every 2 years.
    • Coils and drain pans are disinfected yearly.
  • Installing air filters with a #10 Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)
  • Consulting with HVAC technicians at Johnson Controls to ensure building systems are operating at recommended air flow, volume, and air mixture.
    • NOTE: There will be no disinfectants run through the HVAC systems – this is not recommended. 


Q: How will CLASSROOMS be arranged to keep everyone as safe as possible?
A: Classroom have been set up to maintain 6’ social distancing between students and staff.

Q: In Special Education (SE) and and English Learner (EL) classrooms, are both the teacher and parapro included in the room’s formula for 6 foot social distancing?

A: Yes.



Q: What CLEANING will take place?
A: Cleaning staff will be trained on the latest recommended COVID cleaning procedures.
  • Daytime issues will be addressed by the building custodian
  • End of day facility cleaning will be addressed by cleaning staff

  • HAND SANITIZER: Each building has been provided with an initial 60-day supply of hand sanitizer. Additional supplies are on order. Details:
    • Hand sanitizer will be provided containing at least 60% alcohol, per CDC recommendations
    • Each classroom will have hand sanitizer bottles that will be refilled as needed
    • Self-standing hand sanitizer stations are located in high traffic areas throughout our facilities
    • In addition, no-touch soap dispensers will be available in restrooms and hand washing areas

  • DISINFECTANT WIPES: Students will be responsible for cleaning their desks, chairs, instructional supplies and other high-touch areas routinely throughout the day (between classes, at the teacher's discretion, and/or as needed)

  • DISINFECTANT MISTERS: During the afternoon shift, cleaning staff will be using specialized disinfecting equipment designed to target airborne pathogens on any vertical or horizontal surface, including those invisible to naked eye. All cleaners will be trained on the use of the new disinfectant misters.


Q: What about buses? How will they be cleaned?
A: Transportation provided through First Student is committed to making your student’s journey to and from school as safe as possible. Reworked school routines, new transportation procedures, social distancing, and thorough bus disinfection and protection are all necessary responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read about their Safe Start cleaning procedures.

TEACHING & LEARNING

Q: How will students be taught if their teacher has to work from home?

A: When a teacher is working remotely from home, student learning will continue in the following ways:

REMOTE STUDENTS: Students will continue to learn online from home.

HYBRID STUDENTS: In-person students will be supported by paraprofessionals in the classroom; remote students will continue to learn from home.



Q: What does the hybrid schedule look like?

A: The Phase 2 Team has been working hard on the schedule with input from employees at the elementary, middle and high school levels. We anticipate schedules to be released the week of 12/14/2020.



Q: Are students considered absent if they have selected in-person, but instead log in remotely?

A: No. If a student is signed up to attend in-person but needs to attend remotely on a given day, the student will be counted as present based upon his or her computer login on that day.  However, if there is no online login to verify participation, the student is considered absent.



Q: What will hybrid learning look like?  

A: All students will receive the same instruction, regardless if they are in-person in the classroom or logging into class remotely on any given day. Teachers who are on-site will provide in-person instruction and support for hybrid students on their in-person days, while students who are remote connect online from home.

In situations in which the teacher must work from home, he or she can continue daily instruction via livestream, with support from an on-site paraprofessional for students who are in-person. 



Q: Will students be forced to come in for end of course exams and state testing?

A: As of 12/3/2020, yes, the state is requiring students to come into buildings for end of course exams. Exam dates have been moved to after Winter Break.

SAFETY/MITIGATION STRATEGIES

Q: What safe guards (mitigation strategies) are being put in place in our schools  

A: Buildings have been designed with our health partners at Lorain County Public HealthMercy Health - Lorain, and Case Western Reserve University to provide the following mitigation strategies (protective barriers):

    • Masks are required in all buildings;
    • Social distancing signage and cues are marked throughout all facilities;
    • Hand sanitizing stations are available in high traffic, common areas;
    • Plexiglass barriers have been installed in main offices; 
    • Facility cleaning and sanitizing practices are updated to meet or exceed COVID-19 specifications


Q: Will plexiglass barriers be installed on desks? 

A: Plexiglass barriers will NOT be installed on all desks, as health experts have cautioned they obstruct air flow, and air flow is critical in reducing spread. 

Plexiglass barriers MAY be installed on student or staff desks when circumstances deem the benefit outweighs this risk, such as when the accommodation is necessary to meet a student’s IEP.

Plexiglass barriers WILL be installed in areas in which staff receive a high number of visitors from outside the school community, such as main offices.



Q: Are the air systems up to recommendations for helping with the virus?

A: Yes. Here’s some helpful information provided by our custodial staff to help explain how it works:

An air handler unit is used to re-condition and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system. The basic function of the air handler unit is take in outside air, re-condition it and supply it as fresh air to a building. All exhaust air is removed, which creates high quality indoor air.

  • The outside air pleated filters are changed every 3 months.
  • The return air and coil pleated filters are changed every 6 months.
  • The cartridge air filters are changed every 2 years.
  • Coils and drain pans are disinfected yearly.


Q: Will there be temperature checks when students enter classrooms each day?

A: No. Our local health partners have advised that temperature checks are not a reliable indicator of whether or not an individual has COVID. Families will be required to assess multiple symptoms in their children each day before coming to school.



Q: What does quarantine look like and what should be done after COVID testing?

A: Lorain County Public Health provides excellent guidance through the following resources:



Q: If students refuse to wear a mask or are regularly breaking the "mask rule" can they be placed back on remote instruction for the safety of all?

A: Short answer: Yes

Long answer: Modeling and practicing safe and appropriate behaviors are cornerstones of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). We will work closely with our students regarding proper mask wearing practices and protocols. 

When we visited area school districts to learn from their in-person experiences, they unilaterally indicated student mask violations hadn’t been an issue. Those who violated the mask wearing policy were nearly always adults. 



Q: If 6’ social distancing is mandatory, why are the lines at the high school not 6’ apart?

A: We have confirmed that the lines in the hallways are 6’ apart. However, there are also taped “boxes” in the center of the hallways for our SRO’s — this may be causing the confusion. But the distance between taped markers for students are 6’ apart. 



Q: How do we get/who is providing masks?

A: Students and staff will be provided with reusable masks; disposable masks will also be available for emergency use. Individuals may also bring their own masks from home if they choose to do so.  



Q: What do mask breaks look like?

A: They can be done individually, in the moment, or as a class by going outside. There will be guidance provided.



Q: Will each building have its own full-time health professional in its clinic?

A: No. Elementary and middle schools will continue to share school health professionals. The high school will continue to have 2 full time nurses. However, this year their schedule be further supplemented by nurse subs.



Q: In Special Education (SE) and and English Learner (EL) classrooms, are both the teacher and parapro included in the room’s formula for 6 foot social distancing?

A: Yes.

COVID-19 TITAN TESTING

Q: I don't understand why COVID testing is optional for students. Why isn't it mandatory for everyone?

A: For practical and statistical purposes, the COVID-19 Titan Testing initiative isn’t designed quite that way. Our testing strategy was developed in concert with Lorain County Public HealthMercy Health - Lorain and Case Western Reserve University to help us assess the efficacy of our mitigation strategies, and to determine if our schools are contributing to spread of the virus. 

Unfortunately, testing is not a guarantee nor effective indicator of individual positivity or risk. Consider: an individual can test negative one day, and contract the virus and be positive the next. We do not have the budget nor the capacity to perform daily testing of staff and students.



Q: What about athletes? Will their testing be mandatory too?
A: No. Students who wish to participate in close proximity sports and activities (such as robotics) must participate in weekly COVID testing.


Q: What if parents choose to come back to hybrid learning, but refuse testing of their child?

A: This is one of the reasons why the district will be conducting random testing, at all buildings, district-wide. By getting statistically-accurate data within our schools, we will not need to test every individual each day to provide the data we need to evaluate mitigation efficacy and spread.



Q: Who will monitor positive cases so they do not re-enter the building?

A: Lorain City Schools will be conducting its own contact tracing, including building and district reporting protocols to track cases, close contacts and quarantines.



Q: Will the testing be using a random sample?

A: Yes. The district has developed a randomized testing protocol to ensure we have data that reflects our staff and student population.



Q: What about family and community members who want to get tested?

COMMUNICATION

Q: Language barriers for English learners needs to be taken into account when communicating with parents… the timeline for the survey on the website says AA/BB cohorts…  I feel like our vocal choices don’t take our community into consideration all of the time.

A: We are working hard to improve access for our Spanish-speaking families. This includes:

  • Live interpreting during Town Halls, Academic Distress Commission and Board of Education meetings

  • Auto translating features on the website and e-newsletters

  • English and Spanish versions of printed materials, robocalls, surveys and forms

  • Bilingual supports at Central Office, Schools and in our classrooms

  • Linea Espanol hotline: (440) 830-4088

Constant feedback and support from staff, families and community partners such as EL Centro  are our best measure of progress.



Q: Why do I receive multiple emails from the district?

A: You may be signed up to receive notifications through more than one list. The district uses more than one communication system, and maintains separate contact lists to reach staff, families, community partners. If you receive multiple copies of an email, the message was likely deemed  important for all of those stakeholders groups. When you receive more than one copy of an email, please delete the duplicate.



Q: Sometimes I receive a phonecall, and sometimes I get an email with updates. Why isn't it the same each time?

A: Lorain City Schools communicates in different ways, for different purposes, to maximize the benefits of each medium. Below is an overview of some, but not all, classifications:

  • WEBSITE: The main hub for all information related to the Lorain City Schools. 

  • PHONE CALL: Highest Priority information relating to your child's education and well-being, emergencies at your child's school, and/or requests for immediate calls for action. 

  • TEXT MESSAGE: High Priority information such as important dates, district updates, and calls for action.

  • EMAIL: High to Medium Priority information requiring high level of detail, links to more information, and calls for action.

  • FACEBOOK/TWITTER: High, Medium and Low Priority information, important reminders, dates, as well as photos and videos sharing stories about what's happening in our schools and community. 

  • YOUTUBE: High to Medium Priority information including livestreams of Academic Distress Commission and Board of Education Meetings, as well as video updates from the CEO, district and schools.

  • PRINT NEWSLETTERS: High to Medium Priority information that can be posted on a bulletin board or refrigerator for frequent reference.



Q: I used to receive phone calls and texts but I don't anymore. Why not?
A: It is possible that we no longer have updated information for you. If you inadvertently blocked our calls, or need to update your phone number, email or address, please contact your child's school or the Registration Department at (440) 830-4055.



Q: Why don't we receive daily or weekly notifications about positive cases in our schools?
A: District notifications are pushed out according to their level of priority and urgency for recipients. During remote learning, there is no risk of exposure for students and families, making these notifications medium to low priority. Therefore, they are updated on the district website through the COVID-19 Dashboard, and shared in weekly district emails. When we return to in-person instruction in Phase 2, phone, text, email and letter notifications will be delivered as needed to homes that may be at risk of exposure due to a positive case at the classroom or building level, in addition to continued tracking through the COVID-19 Dashboard.


Q: Why isn't the COVID-19 Dashboard updated daily? Why isn't it updated at the same time each week? 
A: Lorain County has been experiencing "very high" to "severe" exposure and spread, which is subsequently slowing down testing labs and contact tracing efforts. Positive, confirmed cases are updated to the COVID-19 Dashboard as soon as the data is made available.
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